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A kitchen redesign that’s all relative

The kitchen in this Belmont Colonial Revival underwent a renovation “back in the ’80s that was more like a face lift than a rethinking of the space,” said architect Tom Beard of TSBeard Architecture in Ipswich. The owners, empty-nesters, wanted to create a space where three generations can gather on the holidays.

“It’s really a sweet story,’’ said Betsy Bassett of Betsy Bassett Interiors of Newton. “Instead of downsizing, what they did was build an addition.”

They added a first-floor master suite and tore down walls in this early 20th-century home to open up the space, front to back, incorporating the family and dining rooms and the kitchen. “We pushed [the kitchen] out about four feet across a 25-foot section of the house,” Beard said. “That freed up enough space inside to enable us to increase the size of the kitchen and, more important, to improve the circulation.”

FLOORS

The floors, quartersawn white oak, are a continuation of the flooring in the dining and family rooms. “It was darkened
very slightly to match the depth of coloring in the existing flooring,” Beard said. “It’s a very tough floor. It...will withstand the dog, the grandkid, and the toys rolling around.”

THE PENDANT LIGHTS

he fixtures are from Wilmette Lighting. “The ceilings are not very high, and we wanted to have pendants but not have them visually take up any space, blocking views of the windows or coming down on top of people’s heads,” Bassett said. “They have the industrial antique bulbs,
where you see the filaments, and a really clean trim.’’

THE ISLAND

The piece was custom made by Herrick & White Architectural Woodworkers of Cumberland, R.I., and the top is absolutely black honed granite. “It was designed in such a way to make it more like a piece of furniture than cabinetry.The legs make it feel visually lighter,” Beard said. “The island is also a device to keep people who aren’t working out of the hair of the cook.’’

THE WINDOWS

They let in great afternoon light and overlook the bluestone patio and yard, Beard said. Now that the layout has been opened up from the front of the house to the back, the space gets light all day long — from the east, west, and south. “It’s what the owner was craving.”

THE CEILING

“The tray ceiling serves two purposes,” Beard said. “One, to define the various zones, and, two, to conceal the structural beams” that took the place of the walls that were removed.

THE STOOLS

These seats are from Crate & Barrel. The owner “just wanted a simple leather that could clean up easily,” Bassett said.

BACKSPLASH

The tiles are Carrara marble. They are “cut into long, thin rectangles that alternate in dimension. It makes for a wonderful transition from the honed black to the white cabinets — one of those . . . small touches that make these spaces look so pretty.”

- Eileen McEleney Woods

Eileen McEleney Woods can be reached at eileen.woods@globe.com. Follow Address on Twitter at @GlobeHomes.

Michael J Lee for The Boston Globe

State approves plan for Salem’s Bentley School to become a charter

Salem’s Bentley School, one of the lowest achieving public schools in the state, will become a charter school next fall.

Last week, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education awarded two new charters, choosing Bentley, a K-5 elementary, and the UP Academy Charter School of Springfield. Both will be Horace Mann charter schools, funded by the local school districts but run by an independent board.

The Salem school will be called the Bentley Academy Charter School.

“The in-district charter gives us an opportunity to focus — and I think in a stronger way — on some of the needs of the students in that school,” said Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, who also chairs the School Committee and supported Bentley’s shift to a charter.

For the last four years, Bentley has struggled with academic achievement.

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